I give myself pep talks – when I’m about to lose it on my kiddos, when I’m tackling a mountain of laundry, when I walk into Walmart two days before Christmas. Basically when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
The Walmart pep talk sounds like this: Ok, Erin. You can do this. Take deep breaths, stick to your list, and, please, let’s not end up on the evening news.
I have this fear that one day I am going to lose all composure and ability to filter my words and actions in Walmart.
Walmart is the perfect storm for overwhelm. There’s just so much going on. First, there’s the mental stress of remembering what I need to get. There’s a list on my phone, but there’s also a couple of other lists in my head that I’m working off of. Then there are the shopping carts. Have you ever gotten rammed into from the back with one of those things? When my kids were little and just learning to “drive” they would accidentally hit the back of my feet. I’m still not sure what words came out of my mouth, but I’m pretty sure this will come up with their future therapists.
And then, there are people, too many people, getting in the way of my ultimate objective: Get in, get out, go home.
When I focus on my objective, then I see people as exactly that – in the way.
During the craziness of the week before Christmas, I made out an extensive to-do list, because it was a week of all-things-extra. I was a bit overwhelmed when I looked at this list on Monday morning and saw the week looming before me.
So I gave myself a pep talk. Ok Erin, you can do this. Just get these done one at a time and you’ll make it through the day. Get in, get out, go home. This pep talk would been fine if my list didn’t involve people. But it was filled with people. And that ‘s not the way I want to treat the people in my life.
I stopped and thought over the truths from the December series. Jesus is with us, so we are not alone. He gives us strength, so we are not powerless. He rescued us to live in freedom. And then this truth. He upholds the universe by the word of His power.
My pep talk changed dramatically.
I am loved by the God who upholds the universe by the word of His power. If this is true, surely I can ask Him for the energy to enjoy all this extra. Surely He can help me to be fully present in this crazy schedule.
My get in, get out, go home thinking comes from the belief that I don’t have enough in me to handle life. And that belief keeps me operating out of emotional poverty.
I want to operate out of the mindset of abundance. I want the truth that I am not alone to guide my actions. I want the truth that I am loved by God to form my words. I want the assurance that Jesus rescued me to be the fuel that gives my life lasting hope.
God can work through me. He is not limited. The compassion, love, patience, and forgiveness that He showers on me CAN flow through me into the lives of those around me. That’s life in abundance.
That abundance gives me the freedom to walk through Walmart, seeing people as real people instead of seeing them as in the way of my objective. When His compassion, love, patience, and forgiveness is what they see, there are opportunities for words of encouragement, for words of hope.
And I can still avoid ending up on the evening news.